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Tigers look to build on strong offensive performance last season

This article is part of our 2015 Fall Preview.

With five new freshmen and new Head Coach Sean Driscoll, the Tigers (5-3) are back and better than ever and ready to take on the Ivy League after last Sunday’s take-down of the No. 23-ranked William & Mary.


Last year, the Tigers were one of the top offensive teams in the NCAA, but closed the season with a heartbreaking loss that left the Tigers in a three-way tie for third place in the Ivy League. This year was marked with a lot of uncertainty and the team has seen a lot of change — nine seniors graduated at the end of last year and former Head Coach Julie Shackford left the program after 20 seasons at its helm. The Tigers returned this season with a new head coach, five new freshmen and a re-imagined intensity.

With regards to the team's new approach, Driscoll said, “Our number one focus coming into the season was to try to improve our goal differential, goals against versus goals scored. We’re a little ahead of where they were last year, so there is an improvement. We still need to get better, but our main focus was in our defending, our overall defending, our individual defending and doing our best to hold our opponents at bay a little bit more.”

“We see his level of commitment and it drives us harder,” junior forward Tyler Lussi said on the team’s new head coach. “This team has really pulled together under [coaches] Sean, Kelly, Ron and Mike.”

But upon returning to campus for pre-season training, the Tigers were faced with injuries that set them back in their training. “A lot of teams have 30 players in their rosters and we only have 23,” Driscoll said. “Of those 23, we had 17 that were healthy to start the season… it’s taken some time to get back to full health and we’re just getting back to that now.”

Six of the seven players who scored in the 2014 season are back again this year, led by Lussi, who scored 18 goals and was named Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year last season. She's already scored six goals this season and was named this week’s Ivy League Player of the Week. Nine of the eleven Tigers who assisted goals in the last year have returned for the 2015 season, led by sophomore midfielder Vanessa Gregoire, who picked up seven assists last season. Freshman forward Mimi Asom has also been taking the field by storm, and was just named this week’s Ivy League Rookie of the Week for scoring the golden goal to beat William & Mary.

On the younger skew of this year’s team, Lussi said, “The younger players… are very talented and fortunately they are learning how to adjust their high-level club games to the more physical and tactical college games.”


“I think the cohesion of the team is great, their incredible competitive drive is exceptional, the attitude is very positive and I would say that they’re the brightest group of players in terms of understanding things that we do, changes that we make in the game," Driscoll said. "They’re pretty good at making adjustments on the fly, which is always a challenge for a coach, and they’re really adept at doing it.”

The Tigers will take on their first Ivy League rival of the season, Yale,this Saturdayin Roberts Stadium at1 p.m.

“I think we’re in a good place mentally, we’re in a good place physically," Driscoll said. "As a group they’re much more cohesive and I think they’re really excited about getting into the Ivy League season.”

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